Valentine’s day rolls around, unfortunately it does not coincide with the weekend, so I have to go to campus. I’m in a good mood, though, because unlike what I told Becca - I actually do enjoy Valentine’s day and think it’s romantic, so I’m excited to spend it with Wyatt. We have a date planned for the evening, nothing public, but I still think it’ll be nice with a candlelit dinner at my place. I’m feeling almost a bit giddy in anticipation, but I try to not let it show too much.
As I’m walking towards my lecture across campus, someone I haven’t seen before comes up to me shyly. He hands me a card and a box of chocolates, mumbling something I don’t quite catch. Before I can ask him to repeat what he said louder, he blushes deeply as our fingers touch when he shoves the gift in my hands. His blushing reminds me of Wyatt, which makes the corners of my lips rise a bit before I catch myself and compose myself. He walks hurriedly away, leaving me standing with the gift. Before I can really comprehend it, someone else comes up to me and gives me a Valentine’s day card, as well. This happens a few more times before I get to class, they don’t say much more than happy Valentine’s day, but clearly me not having a date has made people want to shoot their shots, even if it’s just with small gifts and cards.
It’s a bit awkward carrying the gifts, though, I wish I had a bag or something to put them in, now I’m just trying to balance them in my arms. It also attracts more attention than I want at the moment, for some reason it doesn’t feel right, getting gifts from other people than Wyatt… But since we haven’t gone public with our relationship, it’s only reasonable that people would feel it’s okay to give me stuff, I guess. And I usually do like gifts and attention, so I’m a bit thrown off by how much I wish people would stop.
I make it to my lecture, awkwardly dumping the cards and gifts on the desk. I almost wish I had dumped them somewhere less visible or in the dumpster or something when I see Wyatt’s eyes widen at the sight. Why does the only class we have together have to be today of all days? I can’t help but avoid his eyes. Becca and Camilla of course draw even more attention to me by oohing and aahing over them. I try to shush them and make myself as small as possible, it’s embarrassing. It’s no use, though, because everyone in class has already seen it. And laid out like they are, the amount of gifts looks bigger than it actually is.
“You don’t happen to have like a bag or something?”, I whisper to Camilla as I point to the gifts.
“Nope”, Camilla grimaces, “You want me to have someone get one for you?”
“Yes! Thank you, you’re a lifesaver”, I thank Camilla, feeling relieved that I’ll have a way to carry them in a less visible way.
I try to focus in class, but my emotions are all over the place, what with embarrassment over the gifts and attention mixing with nerves and excitement for tonight's date with Wyatt. All I can do is try to pretend like I’m listening to the professor. Just as I’ve composed myself a bit, we are about halfway through the lecture, when there’s a knock on the classroom door.
I feel the color from my face drain. In walks Henry carrying an enormous bouquet of red roses, it’s so big it almost covers his face. I watch in dread, eyes widening, as he is followed by a few people who burst out in song. He locks eyes with me and smiles. I’m horrified, it’s happening so fast, but at the same time it feels like everything is moving in slow-motion. Henry walks towards me, the serenading people following right behind him, everyone is smiling and cheering him on. I want to throw up. Please no. Please, be a nightmare, I want to wake up. I’m frozen in place, it’s like I can’t breathe. I see Wyatt’s face from the corner of my eye and he looks pale too. Why, oh why, is this happening to me? And in front of Wyatt of all people?
I’m contemplating what to do when Henry reaches me. To my horror, as if it wasn’t bad enough, Henry gets down on one knee in front of me. He must be delusional. What is he doing? People are now filming the scene. I pride myself on always being able to control my features, but this time I’m too shocked and absolutely horrified, that there’s no way I can keep those feelings out of my face. To combat that I make a pathetic attempt to turn my face away from most of the class. Fuck. Shit. Fuck. What do I do?
“Audrey, I love you, I have since we were kids and I always will! I can give you anything and I promise I’ll be a better man for you ”, Henry declares in front of everyone. I need to stop this, is all I’m able to think.
“Stop”, I hiss through gritted teeth, “Get up, this is embarrassing”. I can’t even look at him, I just want to disappear into the floor.
“What?” Henry says with a too loud voice, “Embarrassing? If it is embarrassing to love you, then I won’t mind being embarrassing for the rest of my life!”, he grins at the crowd, egging them on. I groan. I’m so close to just going batshit crazy and cursing at him to leave me alone, but I need to make this all go away amicably, I don’t want videos of me cussing him out to spread all over the internet. I’m supposed to be a good girl, after all. Dad would go crazy if I caused a scene so close to his election.
“Ha ha, Henry you’re so funny,” I get up, the worst fake smile I’ve ever given on my face and turn to the crowd, motioning for Henry to get up, “You’re such a jokester! We broke up ages ago”, I act like his little stunt was just a joke, “He’s so silly”, I dismiss the whole thing. I don’t think anyone’s buying it, but I need to try something.
“I’m not jok-”, Henry insists, but before he can finish his sentence, I put my hand over his mouth and start leading him out of the class. All the while painfully faking a smile and a few chuckles, insisting to the class that Henry’s just playing a prank on me.
I almost shove Henry out of the door, while apologizing to the professor, promising I’ll be back soon. As I turn around my smile drops right away and if looks could kill Henry would be six feet under before he could open that obnoxious mouth of his. Unfortunately, looks can’t kill, so he’s very much alive and speaking.
“I’m not joking Audrey! I love you! We should be together, I know you think so too”, Henry pleads. When I don’t say anything, just kill him over and over with my eyes, he tries a different approach.
“Audrey, baby, I’m sorry! I thought a big public proposal would be alright with you. Go big or go home, you know? I always go big! You know me!”, Henry says, “But if it isn’t your style, let me take you out to dinner tonight. I was going to surprise you, but I got the family yacht ready for tonight, so we can have a romantic dinner while cruising tonight.” I look at him in disbelief, although I probably should have seen this coming, since his delusion seems to have no end.
“You’re insane. You’re delusional. Leave me the fuck alone Henry! I don’t want you at all, not here and not on your fucking family yacht, not anywhere! I DON’T WANT YOU!”, my volume rises throughout my speech until I’m screaming at the end. Henry looks shocked.
“What?”, Henry says. How dare he look shocked? I made myself clear before. I’m seething.
“Please, Henry, please! I beg you, please leave me alone. What part of this don’t you get? I don’t love you!”, I’m so angry, tears forming in my eyes, as I plead with him.
“Of course you love me! We love each other!”, Henry sounds mad now.
“No, I don’t! I don’t even like you, much less love you. I never did! Please we’ve been over this before, just let me go, okay?”, I just want this to be over. We go back and forth for a while, Henry’s having a hard time accepting that I don’t want to be with him, I’m crying out of frustration and anger, when people start to fill the corridors. I wipe my face quickly, hiding behind my hair.
“Fine. Have it your way”, Henry grits out, “but just know that if I can’t have you, no one else can.” he leaves with a threatening look on his face. Fuck my life.
I don’t see Wyatt leaving the classroom, but Becca and Camilla corner me as soon as they come out. The soundproofing must be really good because it doesn’t seem like they heard the fight.
“So, did you get back together with Henry?”, Camilla asks brightly, before she sees my face.
“I’m guessing…not?”, Becca says and exchanges looks with Camilla.
“So…um… here’s your bag, we packed your stuff for you, since you left the classroom without your things”, they say carefully.
“Thanks”, I manage to squeak out, “I should get going, bye”.
“What? Where are you going? I thought you still had another class…”, Camilla trails off as I start leaving.
“Let her go, something obviously happened”, Becca tells her and to me she says, “take care Audrey, you know you can always talk to us!”. Yeah, right, and have the whole campus know exactly what I said. No, thanks. Who I really need to talk to is Wyatt. I don’t know what he’s thinking about all this. I just want to go to him, wherever he is and wrap my arms around him and never let go.